The role of mediation in the resolution of civil disputes has grown enormously in recent years and is regarded as an almost compulsory preliminary step before going into a hearing as it is recognised as an effective method in enabling parties to find a compromise solution to any dispute. The Judicial emphasis on the effectiveness of this process is in contrast with legislation. The question of the governmental and judicial role in supporting mediation remains controversial not only in the UK but among policymakers and legislators around the world especially as to whether mediation should be compulsory in certain cases.
The prevailing views of solicitor in England and Wales today appear to use mediation as a preliminary step to litigation rather than an alternative to litigation. If Government made mediation a mandatory alternative instead of litigation then it should follow that mediation, which is more flexible and cost effective than litigation, might be considered a better way to conclude a negotiated compromise to settle business disputes without heavy involvement with firms of solicitors and related costs.
Small businesses still appear reluctant to use mediation - is this the reason why?